MUGC News Edi on Seven ‐ June 19 2014
In this edi on...
Royals Game Review Lions Game Review Word from the Coach Most Valuable Players Around the League Round Eight Preview
Words by Alex Gossage, Donal Sto and Jack Roberts Photography by Liv Rog Design by Liv Rog
MUGC Royals v Geelong Buccaneers In the second game of the a ernoon, with the weather beginning to look ominous, the 19‐man Royals squad, devastated by injury, faced the undefeated Geelong Buccaneers. The sheer diﬀerence in squad size typified the daun ng task ahead. The Buccaneers showed their strength and power on the kickoﬀ with a massive 80‐yard return. On first and goal, the Buccaneers punched the ball into the end zone making it 7‐0. The Royals looked ra led early as a poor kick return was followed by bad snaps and nega ve plays. A sack on third and long resulted in a safety as the oﬀensive line was overpowered in the wet condi ons. The Royals could have easily dropped their heads a er a disastrous start but Daniel Griﬃn and Henry Wright made consecu ve highlight plays with big sacks on the Geelong quarterback. A er a big run on third and long, the Buccaneers converted a fourth and short to keep their second drive alive. Jonny Hockey, the ball‐hawking rookie, seemingly made another great play with an intercep on as the Buccaneers threatened, but penal es negated the play. On the very next play, Geelong took a 16‐0 lead. Samuel Delai looked threatening in the return game but the Royals oﬀense couldn’t capitalize on solid field posi on. On the following possession the Buccaneers converted their second fourth‐down of the game and scored through the air taking an overwhelming 23‐point lead in the first quarter. The Royals oﬀense began the following possession with promise. A great pass by Jonathan Chin to the consistent, Sam Temple gave the Royals a first down. Solid gains on the ground by Tokoa Samuel and J. Chin gave the Royals hope heading into the second quarter. Unfortunately, the Royals most promising drive of the first half ended in a punt that pinned Geelong deep in their own territory. As the weather started to play a bigger role in the game both teams were forced to shrink their playbooks relying heavily on the ground game. Dominic Young was impressive filling gaps and regularly hal ng poten al rushes by the Buccaneers. A confusing sequence a er a play was blown dead, resulted in a replayed down and the Buccaneers took advantage with rare success through the air. A well‐ med slant enabled an 80‐yard pass se ng up another Geelong score on the ground making it 30‐0. The Royals managed li le on the following kick return and a costly fumble gi ed Geelong a first and goal. Despite impressive plays to stop the run, the Buccaneers could dominate the line of scrimmage when it ma ered most and soon the Royals were in a 37‐0 hole.
What happened next was a rare highlight for the day. Samuel Delai broke through the Buccaneers solid coverage on the ensuing kickoﬀ scoring on a 95‐yard kick return. While the celebra ons were short lived, the kick return was a reward for the persistence shown by an injury plagued and physically outmatched Royals unit. The Geelong Buccaneers lead 43‐6 at hal ime, capitalizing on solid field posi on with consistent produc on on the ground and on special teams. The Royals were not broken and con nued to ba le valiantly throughout the game. Early in the third quarter the heavens truly opened up. In a few short minutes the gridiron was waterlogged and transformed into a mud pit. Passing plays were few and far between as the field began to resemble something more akin to a giant puddle. The physicality of the contest wore down the undermanned Royals who con nued to give up points on the ground. Players slipped and slid in the ridiculous condi ons with the Royals eﬀort never wavering. The final score of 62‐6 did not dampen the spirits of a shorthanded, inexperienced squad. The improvements have been steady for the Royals as new players are forced to step in to bigger and be er roles each week.
MUGC Lions v Gippsland Gladiators The Melbourne University Lions headed to wintery Geelong for a clash with division leaders the Gippsland Gladiators. The inexperienced, injury plagued Lions looked to avenge a thorough bea ng suﬀered at the hands of the Gladiators from just weeks ago. Unfortunately, the young Lions would be similarly outmatched, showing spirit but never truly compe ng with the dominant team of Division Two. It took the Gladiators mere seconds to enter the end zone a er winning the toss and elec ng to receive. On the first play from the line of scrimmage the dangerous Ben Lindsay, star running‐back for the Gladiators, broke through a large hole and took it to the house for a 59‐yard touchdown. The outlook was eerily similar to their previous contest as the Gladiators moved the ball with ease on the ground and relied on the size and strength of veteran, Don Veale, through the air. As the Lions struggled to gain any momentum on oﬀense, the defense was allowing big chunks of yards on what seemed like every play. The Lions quickly found themselves behind 22‐0. Welbie Chan showed poten al as a wide receiver making a great catch for the first down as me expired in the first quarter. The Gladiators muﬀed the punt return early in the second and the Lions drive was kept alive. Quarterback Elvin Le found the confident playmaker W. Chan on another great connec on but the drive was halted by a false start and costly sack. The teams traded punts with W. Chan con nuing his breakout game with a 15‐yard catch followed by a great tackle on special teams mere moments later. The Lions looked to stay in touch a er a great individual eﬀort by usual quarterback, now safety, Dylan Letoga. The youngest member of Melbourne University Gridiron Club stepped up to intercept a deep pass but a pass interference penalty negated the play. The Gladiators took advantage on the ground making it 28‐0 at the half. The Lions oﬀense struggled migh ly at the start of the second half. A er the punt return, the Gladiators repeated their great start to the game, this me going one be er, a 60‐yard rushing touchdown made it an insurmountable 36‐0. The Lions were regularly forced to punt throughout the second half. The persistent problem of stopping opposi on rushing a acks was again evident as the Gladiators dominated on the ground taking a 52‐0 lead into the final stanza. The spirited Lions defense con nued to toil as they put together their greatest series of the contest early in the fourth. Constant pressure in the backfield by the defensive line, namely Tua Mino and Montel Matue, resulted in a turnover on downs. On the following possession, Sco Algate, who had competed valiantly on defense all day, made a great play at wide receiver gaining valuable yards a er the catch. Unfortunately the promising drive by the Lions was halted by an intercep on. D. Letoga, who made solid plays all day, repeated his earlier eﬀort with an intercep on and huge 70‐yard return giving the Lions hope of ge ng on the scoreboard late. It wasn’t to be and the game ended 58‐0. The Lions showed the same spirit they have exhibited all year and ba led relessly, with the majority of the squad being forced to play both ways for much of the contest. This week’s ou it were missing key leaders across the field but never gave up. While they con nue to surrender large point totals each week, the individual improvement of several players can’t be denied.
Words from the coach
“It’s a tough Ɵme in the season, the weather gets worse, injuries mount up but we sƟll go out there and fight regardless of what faces us.”
Most Valuable Players Lions: Dylan Letoga: Dylan played nearly every snap against the Glads and s ll made some great plays despite being completely exhausted.
Royals: Dom Young: Playing only his 7th game at Linebacker against one of the most physical running games in the league Dom stepped up and played a great game. Samual Delai: Sam provided the only points of the game for the Royals on a fantas c kick return. He gave it everything each me he had the ball in his hands.
Around the league Division One: Western Crusaders def Bendigo Dragons 18‐0 The Crusaders came into this match needing a win in this cross‐divisional game and they earned it on the back of a s ngy defence. Both teams played but the Crusaders D was simply too good on the day. Monash Warriors def Monash Barbarians 78‐6 This intra club game was always going to do the way of the Warriors and they definitely showed why they are on top in conference A. Croydon Rangers def Northern Raiders 35‐0 The Raiders came into the game without a win and were desperate to put one on the board. In the end the Rangers were too good and came away with a convincing win. Berwick Miners def South Eastern Predators 8‐0 This cross‐divisional match turned out to be the game of the round with both teams playing brutal defence on a mud soaked field. The Miners came out on top in the game and that makes their second win in a row.
Division Two: Ballarat Falcons def Pakenham Silverbacks 15‐6 The Falcons came into the match as favourites a er the season’s previous match up, but the Silverbacks came in and gave them a real fight. The Falcons came away with the win in a ght contest with both teams playing good football.
Round Eight Preview Melbourne University Lions Vs Pakenham Silverbacks, 1:30pm 22nd June at Brens Oval The Lions and Silverbacks have already played two great games this season and this home game is likely to be another great clash. With the third spot on the ladder possibly up for taking the Lions are going to be figh ng hard to get their first win on the board for the season. Good luck to the boys and the game will be worth the trip down to Royal Park. Gippsland Gladiators Vs Ballarat Falcons, 10:30am 22nd June at Brens Oval The division two top of the table clash is going to be a good one, with the winner going clear to the top of the table. The teams are locked at one win each other against each other and both clashes have been great to watch, this one should be no diﬀerent.
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